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PIA Press Release

Church-based group in Cebu says "NO" to People Power in case of massive fraud in May 10 elections

Cebu City (5 May) -- "We have to follow the rule of law," issued Fr. Carmelo Diola, overall coordinating steward of the Dila-ab Movement when asked about the likelihood of people uprising in case of massive fraud or cheating in the coming May 10 Elections.

Fr. Diola said inciting people to street protests is not good as "we do not take matters in our own hand" and that "we have to respect the Constitution" while there is also "a line of succession." Diola was one of the main guests of the Kapihan sa PIA this morning that tackled the topic "H.O.P.E: Preparations for the May 10 Elections in Cebu."

The statement was made as reports of calls for 'people power' was urged by a presidential candidate in case the coming polls would be rigged.

Earlier, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales also described warnings of another "people power" if the coming polls were marred by immense cheating as "crazy and irresponsible" and that "the laws are not done in the streets."

Diola said "we should not take shortcuts" and that people power is one as he also expressed strongly on a military junta in case of an election breakdown describing it as another shortcut.

Dila-ab Movement is a volunteer-drive, Church-based movement for a transformed Filipino nation through heroic Christian citizenship.

As the Commission on Elections (Comelec) suspended the deployment of the precinct count optical scan (PCPS) machines because of the defective compact flashcards, Diola called for a postponement of the elections even just for two weeks.

When told by a Comelec-7 representative that this was not possible as the Constitution stipulates the holding of the elections every second Monday of May, Diola no longer insisted but said the Comelec should "swallow its pride" and admit that total poll automation may no longer be possible as five days before the polls, there are still some glitches.

Diola said it would have been better if the polls would be automated but if this could not be possible, then it would be better for the Comelec to implement poll automation in selected key cities and manual counting in other areas.

Atty. Ferdinand Gujilde, election supervisor of Lapulapu City said that the Comelec is ready and prepared in case there is a need to revert back to manual counting.

"Manual counting is the last resort while we are still optimistic that the flashcards can be fixed and delivered on time for Monday's elections," Gujilde stressed.

Diola on the other hand, urged voters to check their candidates whether they passed the LASER test. The LASER test is a guide to voters in choosing worthy leaders as the name stands for Lifestyle, Action against corruption, Supporters, Election conduct and Reputation.

Voters are urged to check on a candidate's lifestyle or reports of unexplained wealth and systems a candidate sets up to ensure transparency and accountability as well as the supporters of the candidate, this is said.

Voters should also checked whether the candidate of choice has even been engaged in vote-buying, violence or exert undue influence and lastly, a track record of genuine service, advocacies and any involvement in any controversy involving corruption should be scrutinized, this is learned.

Diola said he has "indomitable hope" in the successful conduct of the coming elections as only in this year's elections has there been a recollection done for the candidates and that the citizens today especially the youth are socially active and inquisitive in political affairs. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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